Using Video Animation in a Case: Cervical Surgery
Posted on April 15th, 2021 by Zane Cagle
As a trial lawyer, my job is to tell a client’s story in a trial so a jury can fully understand what my client has gone through. When someone has a cervical fusion, the tell-tale mark is a small scar on their neck. Unless you have had one of these surgeries, you really do not understand what a medical ordeal it is to actually undergo spine surgery. The video above is an actual recreation of one of my former client’s procedures without personal identification. Each of these video animations must be done individually, meaning I do not use this particular video animation again. Each client is individual, and their surgery is specific to them. In order to create these video animations, I confer with the surgeon so the surgeon can confirm the video is factual and correct. There can be several revisions done to be certain the video animation accurately depicts the client’s surgery.
Why a Video Animation of a Client’s Surgery?
Generally, it can take several years for a case to go to trial. And during that time, my clients usually go through many stages of recovery, and frequently, they have had a lot of medical treatment. During the trial, we generally have just a few days to really tell a client’s story. In my cases, someone has been injured in an accident, and I must relay the facts of the accident discussing liability, and then I must show the jury what kind of damages my client has sustained. There are many kinds of accidents that can result in disc injuries, such as auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and slip and fall accidents. One thing you must understand about spine fusions…..the patient undergoing a spine fusion of any kind loses mobility in that area of the spine because the disc is removed, and the bones are fused together with a device in place of the disc. You cannot “undo” a spine fusion. Cervical and lumbar fusions are done in order to relieve a patient’s persistent pain when a disc has been damaged. Video animation accurately shows the jury what the surgery was like, minus the sensationalized pictures or real video that would show blood and other graphic visuals. Our goal is not to shock and disgust a jury but to inform. Raw video of surgery would not be acceptable anywhere except in a medical school or a television documentary, so the video animation we use still informs without sensationalizing the graphic aspects of the surgery, such as blood.
Cervical Fusion–Minor Surgery?
It is important to show a jury what someone went through in their medical treatment without sensationalizing it. The only physical remaining evidence of the surgery that some of my clients have is a scar. When a cervical fusion is done, the scar is usually small and on the front of their neck; therefore, when a juror looks at my client, the juror has no idea what an ordeal my client has gone through. Video animations offer transparency– meaning, we show the jury exactly what the client went through in order to have the surgery, and it is very educational. Most of us have never witnessed an actual surgery, even though many of us may have had a surgery or two, even if minor. Cervical fusion surgery may be classified by some as “minor” surgery, but when you see the video animation and the removal of disc material and grinding of the vertebra bone, it does not appear to be a minor, routine surgery.
Video animation of surgery is just one of the ways I work to tell the client’s story to a jury. I have great faith in our jury system. I believe that if you show the jury the truth, fairness will prevail. In order to tell a personal injury client’s story, I do several things, and first and foremost, I must learn the client’s story by spending time with the client getting to know them. One of the best parts about being a trial lawyer is the honor of getting to know my clients personally. My biggest challenge is to really share who my client is and not just as a victim of an accident but who they really are in spite of the accident. I have been blessed with many great clients for trial.
If you have been in an accident and sustained an injury, you may need legal representation. At The Cagle Law Firm, we work to aggressively represent our clients, whether it is at the negotiating table or in a trial. Our attorneys are available seven days a week to answer your questions and give you information whether in Missouri or Illinois. Call us at (314) 276-1681 today.